Well informed, eloquent and oh-so-romantic, the ‘City of Light’ is a philosopher, a poet, a crooner. As it always has been, Paris is a million different things to a million different people.
Paris has all but exhausted the superlatives that can reasonably be applied to any city. Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower – at sunrise, at sunset, at night – have been described countless times, as have the Seine and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences between the Left and Right Banks. But what writers have been unable to capture is the grandness and even the magic.
Paris probably has more familiar landmarks than any other city in the world. As a result, first-time visitors often arrive in the French capital with all sorts of expectations: of grand vistas, of intellectuals discussing weighty matters in cafés, of romance along the Seine, of naughty nightclub revues, of rude people who won’t speak English. If you look hard enough, you can probably find all of those. But another approach is to set aside the preconceptions of Paris and to explore the city’s avenues and backstreets as if the tip of the Eiffel Tower or the spire of Notre Dame wasn’t about to pop into view at any moment.
One of the most famous landmarks in the entire world, no trip to Paris would be complete without a tour of the Eiffel Tower. Built back in 1889, the tower stands tall at over 1000 feet and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape from its observation decks. It also features two restaurants located on the first and second floors.
Arc de Triomphe
Originally commissioned by Napolean, the Arc de Triomphe has stood since 1836. Underneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with an eternal flame to mark those who have died in the two world wars.
Notre Dame de Paris
One of the most spectacular examples of Gothic architecture in Paris, the Notre Dame began construction back in 1163 and has been continually altered and restored ever since.
The Louvre today was originally constructed as a fortress, before becoming a palace. It now serves as one of the finest museums in Europe, and contains some of the most famous pieces of art including da Vinci's Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Built by Louis XIV back in the 15th century, the Palace of Versailles served as home to French royalty until the French Revolution. While it has suffered with the passing years, it stands as a monument to the past glory of France and remains a world famous attraction.